A good night’s sleep

Woah. It seems like I was on a Ferris wheel. My head is spinning like a beyblade; and all I can remember about last night was me walking hurriedly to catch up a train.

Yet, here I am – alone in an apartment. What exactly happened last night? I shouted – “Anyone there?” for a thousand times, just a minute ago. No one responded. I am pretty sure I have a wife. But for some strange reason, I just can’t remember her name. She isn’t here by the way. This has never happened with me. Have I ever blacked out after series of vodka shots? Yes. But the strangest thing is I’ve not touched a drop of alcohol for months.

My doctor’s warnings about my liver problems were enough to fend me from the addiction. I searched for my mobile and it was not there. No laptops and tablets either. Someone certainly didn’t want me to have any access to the outside world. But why and how? I just can’t remember. Maybe, I was kidnapped last night. That makes sense. Maybe someone put some sleeping drug in the takeaway coffee and captured me. But joke’s on them – I am pretty sure even they had more money in their pockets than me. I was a 25-year-old jobless *something after all. What’s with the ‘something’? Why can’t I remember anything! I’m pretty sure it wasn’t any thing related to medical though. The wound right besides my arm still excruciates me. Enough of talking. I need to find the inner Sherlock in me now.

Who needs Watson anyway? There was a time when I really loved the Holmes books. Profiling people was the best fun-time ever; all I lacked was the charisma and tenacity to really pull it off. But who knew five years and a missing day later, I will finally need it. I surfed around the house, to look for some clues. I’m deeply wrapped with clothes, and for some reason, I can’t take off the gloves in my hands either. Some one really wanted to strangle me, or maybe, was worried about my cold problems. For some reason, my legs don’t support me like it used to. Maybe it was that thing they put on my takeaway coffee.

The first thing I will do after I feel well is sue them. Coming to suing, there’s nothing around that really gives me any clue. Perhaps, there’s something on the kitchen? It smells good. Someone was here just a few hours ago, for sure. But why leave me unrestrained? I could easily leave right now if it weren’t for my weakness. But maybe it was their plan all along. I bet they’re watching from a CCTV camera somewhere, enjoying me struggle to put any thoughts. People are so feeble these days. They’d do anything for fun. These kidnappers aren’t well trained to do their jobs, for sure. But, boy, their cooking smells delicious.

They have cooked my favorite – Baked Rigatoni with Beef and it smells so familiar. Is this actually for me? Damn, I nearly fell into their trap. It’s cocaine in the coffee all over again. They are probably trying to fool me once again. *some noise at the door* The kidnappers are here! It’s time to take some vengeance. I need to grab something. *grabs a strainer. *a woman walks in, looks at me with disbelief and gasps: “Jack”

It felt like almost an hour before she completed a word. “Yes. That’s my name, kidnapper. Who are you?”, I say. Little cunningly, and also little questionably. I just didn’t want to show I was a little scared. “How. Wake”, she puts phrases I can’t understand yet again. That’s when someone else entered the room. “Mom, why are you standing here”, a beautiful blonde teenager tells before she meets her eyes with mine.

That’s when she suddenly can’t speak too. “Mom. He” – I won’t lie. I feel like I have a superpower or something. If someone really wanted to give me powers, at least give me a meaningful one. “So my powers work on everyone.”, I just attempt to lit up the room.

They didn’t listen. Or the joke wasn’t good enough. But, it seems like something is bothering them. I need to find the answer. They are crying, looking at me as if I am an alien. The little girl then comes at me, hugs me, says she has always wanted to talk with me. Okay. I always knew I was a good listener.

But I tell to myself – even with the sweetness pouring from the little girl, the kidnapping was a tad unnecessary. “Okay. I will be straight forward here. I don’t know who the two of you are. But, I don’t know what happened last night. I was just running at my normal pace to catch up a train, but something happened and I can’t remember it.

Strangely, I can’t figure out where I am but I know my wife is worried about me. Please help me call her.” The tears drop out of the lady’s eyes even more.

The daughter joins her too. That’s when she drops the biggest bombshell. “Jack, this is your daughter, Emma. I’m your wife. It wasn’t yesterday. That happened 17 years ago.”

A gaze upon the sky

This is another of my old writings; and it has three parts related to each other. 

PART I: A gaze upon the sky

All my childhood, I spent days playing at the roads right  beside my home. I loved cricket – probably because I was good at it, but  maybe it was my brother’s influence on me.

Along with cricket, I’d play badminton with local street kids; fighting them off individual battles for money.

I wasn’t as good at badminton though; so I usually went back to  playing cricket dropping an ocean of sweat- a testament to the hot  summers in Butwal.

Summers in Terai are difficult, but Summers in Terai a decade ago was  outright catastrophic. Sometimes, you’d wonder whether the Greenhouse effect is worth it.

As a kid though, nothing stopped me from playing. But the supposedly  beautiful nights were the difficult ones. It usually followed the same  template.

You’d sleep under a quick rotating fan extraditing the warm air  inside the room. Suddenly, the electricity would be gone, and you are  now starting to feel the heat while asleep. It’d start with a drop, then  continue till you finally wake up.

The only solution? Rooftops!

I spent the majority of my childhood nights looking at the sky. I’d  count the number of stars till I finally fell asleep, or until a  mosquito started annoying me.

I realized a human mind traverses through a lot of thoughts when it  is kept stale. The clear night skies had an aura about it, the stars  felt so near, yet so far; the moon seemed to glow right at me.

The constant noises by the crickets brought about a different state of peace in mind ironically.

I really couldn’t fathom the beauty of it, but slowly as I grew up, I  realized why it was so beautiful. I met her in a similar lavish night, a  night that screeches for your attention.

I met her in one of these parties my friend organized for the company  we worked. It wasn’t any extravagant, but it had booze – and at  parties, all people need is some booze and music. For me, parties  weren’t my forte – I’ve never actually made friends by spotting them in  the midst of a crowd.

It’s a slow, gradual process for me – something I worked upon to  change in my teenage years. But, I found later that there are some  personality traits you can never really change.

So I did what I usually did. I lied at the comfortable beach chairs my friend had for his pool parties and gazed at the skies.

Over the years, the only thing I learned was people were somewhat  like stars. It’s all about perspective. Everyone around you sparkles and  has an enormous impact on your life, no matter what you say or what you  think. It’s upon us to take huge positives from it, instead of clinging  to the negativity.

But never did I know  I was going to find out how the big bang occurs  while I was counting the stars. She wasn’t any different from me –  except her smile could magnetize someone even seven seas away. I saw her  the first time that evening when I entered right through my friend’s  main door. She was right beside the kitchen table taking a bite at her  Cadbury Silk- I never really thought someone could lick their chocolaty  fingers looking elegant, but there she was.

No matter how magnetizing her smile was, one thing I’d never do is  talk to someone right away. It was almost as if I never had that  “Gotalktothegirl” function defined in my code.

So here I was a few hours later, staring at the same old sky looking  to find a new sense of peace within my mind and she came right beside  me.

My mind was quick to have two separate instant reactions to the  situation. A part of me still wanted to gaze at the pellucid sky for it  has long been my confidante for years.

Another part of me sensed an opportunity. An opportunity to say hello  and marry her. I was always fanatic that way – it was either I don’t  like her or I will marry her for me. Maybe that’s why I always  waited for that big bang effect for so long.

To my relief, it wasn’t needed of me to say a word. Her voice was  even more soothing than her smile. It did every bit justice to how  beautiful she looked. She introduced her to me like I needed one.

No matter how strange we were from each other, a part of me knew her  already. After all, I had been waiting for the big bang for years.

I continued talking to her in the best way I could. I asked about her  interests; and even though it’s a tried and successfully passed  conversation formula that I forged upon for years, it all felt  spontaneous with her. She was somewhat elusive, but maybe I was too  awestruck to catch her.

We talked for hours- we looked at the sky the same way I did when I  was growing up in the hot and obnoxious summers in Butwal. But at the  moment, the sky turned into a drawing canvas; and I drew a huge imprint  of her face so that it’d never fade away.

The time stopped for me. I cracked it! I knew how to stop time. All I  needed was a catalyst, and there she was – sitting on a beach chair  right beside me. But my host friend, the owner of the big house in one  of the most expensive suburbs in the city, had a clock that worked in a  far better pedigree than mine. He signed off the party, and to my  dismay, I realized it was going to be an end to one of the most  beautiful nights ever in my life.

We shared numbers and waved goodbyes.

“Sweet dreams,” she said.

But little did she realize that if my life had been a dream, she was the ingredient that would provide sweetness to it.

“Same to you,” I replied; but I knew – her definition of a sweet dream would never be the same to mine.

PART II: Retracing the steps

Memories can be tricky.  I often find myself reminiscing the past, in  search of the moments when I felt myself; when I felt whole and above  all when I found myself content. The past brings me joy; it helps me  bring myself back to work hard on figuring out the ways to become  fulfilled once again. But, like almost everything, it also reminds me of  the things I crave for; of the people I abundantly miss and the moments  that are absent in my life.  But time doesn’t wait for anyone.

Things  change, and no matter what pictures you keep holding to; they gradually  fade away. The dimensions change, and you are obliged to adapt to the  new situations and the new surrounding no matter how hard you push to  keep the things same. I have learned it the hard way.

I still hold the fresh memories of the night we first met. The night  we gazed upon the sky, and the time I felt I had the one person with who  I’d spend the rest of my similar nights. I valued every moment I spent  with her – but not as much as I do right now.

The truth is we care a little about stuff when we have them with us. A  t-shirt you’re wearing is merely a t-shirt; the restaurant you usually  go to is simply an eating hub. The road you often walk by is only a  compulsion. But eventually, it all comes to fruition. You no longer need  a reminder application from your mobile phone to remind you the past,  and how each and everything you did so coherently come linked.

You pick  the same public train you used to travel from years ago, and one day you  suddenly realize that you made a lot of memories in it. Somehow, you  understand how everything around you comes tinkered with memories, and  every word you say reminds you of a certain someone you once loved. Love can be a nightmare.

I was on a similar path a few days ago. I’ve always liked to linger  around that thin, fine line; where no one in the past makes a difference  to me, and suddenly it all goes down to a trigger. It’s impulsive; yet,  I don’t let go – for I want to start feeling something. For years, I  always avoided places I once used to adore. It was my coping mechanism –  I never went to the same restaurants, never walked by the same  location. However, one fine day, I made an exception. I embarked upon  the same journey; the same half an hour walk from the local cafe to the  place she lived.

It’s amusing how everything in the world changes for good, yet the  past is the only thing that makes sense to you. Every step I took made  me feel as if she was right beside me, giggling hard and making the rare  odd jumps time and again. Oddly, she liked it that way. She loved to  jump around and make a fool of herself, but she looked ridiculously  lively in every action she took. She was bubbly; there aren’t many words  I can describe her with, but the thing that astonished me the most was  how I felt vivacious everytime I was with her. She almost transmitted  the same energy onto me.

I lived a dream with her. It all began out of a blue moon – but the  journey was almost a dejavu. I never imagined me to fall in love with a  girl I met at a random party – and never did I imagine myself to lure a  girl as lovely as she was. But the fate had it all wrapped for us.  Today, I was tracing the same steps I routinely made a few years ago- in  search for a mystic answer I knew I wasn’t going to find. I knew the  years spent wedging the condemned feelings would go to vain with every  step I took, yet, I wanted the intense feeling. I wanted to stop feeling  hollow – and sometimes, sadness comes as a cure.

Meanwhile, I was almost there.

I’d been through several flashbacks with every checkpoint I reached.  The supermarket right beside the local park reminded me of the time when  we were hungover from an event afterparty on a rainy weekend. It was  our first night out together as a couple, and it felt so whole. She was  drunk; and uttered the most nonsensical words you’d ever hear- yet it  made me giggle every time. I had always loved rain – but never did I  imagine to be so magical. It was almost as if the romance resonated with  it. They say, couples who drench together – stay together; which kind  of seems ironical today.

I also remember the time when she had her sandal broken at midnight  when we were walking through the same alley I embarked upon just a few  minutes ago. She cared about the little things, and it irritated me to  see her in discomfort. But I’m sure my arms would never really forgive  me for carrying her throughout – for she probably weighed more than me.  Sometimes, I wonder if that’s the reason I still have back problems. I  guess that’s the sacrifice you make for love – one I’d still make if I  still had an opportunity.

But the memories are still the tiny shades of the past you keep  reminding yourself. That’s what it is – it will always be miles apart  from the present.

Right now, it’s almost unidentical.

You’d not know where I am.

I don’t think even I do. It’s not the same anymore. I’ve hovered  around different places in the past- traveled all around the world. I’ve  become accustomed to the new culture, new places, and new identities.  But somehow, the freshness in this place haunts me. It crumbles me into  pieces – it makes me realize how it’s symbolic of the way my life has  gone down.

I feel like the world has stopped for me. The memories keep flooding  into my mind like a film reel. I don’t know how to stop them; it’s as if  I haven’t figured out where the stop button is. I’m surrounded by  people so eager to walk past by me to run their normal daily routines,  yet it all alienates me. The truth is bitter – but it’s equally painful.  It hits like a dagger when you realize how you’ve been trapped by your  mask all these years. You know how every attempt you made to pester over  the cracks you had in your heart wasn’t a testament to how innocent you  were – rather a reminder to how fainthearted you always were.

The same familiar house now feels like a brand new renovated  bungalow. It feels as if there’s someone else there to create new  memories. But, I’m still uncertain to what I expected. From what I heard  she sold the house when she got married last summer. I still wonder if I  could have regathered myself for her special day.

The day she finally knot ties with the person she loved.

Part III:
The last journey

December 12, 2017. Time: 8 PM

I’ve been driving my old Ford SUV for past two hours. My friend has a party lined up esp. for me. I haven’t been to parties for a long time which is probably why my friend wants to celebrate my great grandeur up in his farmhouse. I say grandeur – because I was recently awarded a top prize in an international global show. A solicit heart requires distractions – and non-stop dedication to work has indeed made a fortune for me. But long drives aren’t my thing. However, the Adele playlist I have certainly helped.

A while ago, I never actually listened to songs much. I was never akin to the idea of listening to a song alone for hours – esp. when I couldn’t fathom the real meaning behind them. Slowly, when I started to realize the deeper meaning in each of those songs, I became addicted. The songs slowly turned into small bits of token I kept for several events in my life.
Whenever I listen to a particular song, it turns me back to the time with a true embodiment of my past, a time when the song made a huge impact on my life. I’m listening to Adele’s Someone Like You right now. It’s something that elicits the inner writer in me. It helps me turn back to my past when I felt I wasn’t good enough for someone – when I felt I had lost one big chance to love.

Songs helped me go through one of the darkest patches of my life. The anger, the denial, and the acceptance – even after the three phases after every breakup, the pain didn’t suddenly go away. Like a rust in the metal, I scraped day in day out to finally let myself wander in a place completely new for me. I wasn’t hungry for love, yet, somehow my soul felt empty and hollow.
But I never expected me to make a leap and win the battle giantly. I expected me to fumble in my first hurdle – but I never imagined it to be such a lonely place. Amazingly, I had so many friends- just like a failed Olympian has – but somewhere down my heart, I was still craving for her; I still imagined how life could be different if I’d passed that one other stumble.

For all I know – and for all, I thought at that moment, that wasn’t a just spare moment of the struggle for me, I saw a dark ocean of trouble waiting to diss me like a ravenous anaconda. But somehow, the numbness was even worse than the feeling of pain.

I loved her the millions way I could – yet, I knew it wasn’t her fault. In fact, somewhere within my soul, I had an apologetic sense to myself. If anything, I shouldn’t have dealt with the things the way I did; but most important of all, I shouldn’t have treated myself the way I did. The sense of euphemism and lust completely overshadowed a little sense of maturity in me.

I realized I had bleached my soul to an entirely different version to adapt to her version of a perfect man. Coming to think of that, even trying to change the essence of myself was my biggest mistake. I saw my life in her; both good and bad moments with us together.

In the midst of all my expectations, there was one constant presence in all my hopes for life – and it was her. So expecting to let go everything in a brisk as if I was a robot was probably far too shallow of me, but I tried whatever works or should work to feel something once again.

If I ever felt lonely, I had one quick remedy to solve all of it. I just needed to look back at the memories we cherished together, and the smooches we shared and the times in the most comfortable lap in the world. It impaled me – a question of what could have been and what should have been – but the truth was I lost her and I couldn’t have changed it in any way.

Relationships aren’t games, yet it felt like a massive defeat. It felt like I took a substantial lead at the top, to only fumble it through my complacency. But, what was important was to realize that it wasn’t a defeat finally; it was a tragedy.

A tragedy is way different to defeat. With the defeat, you sense that you’ve lost everything while someone else benefitted from it but with tragedy, you make yourself to be a lesser victim. The pain and sorrow, I felt it – I felt it as a whole as I can, and while I could seem like exaggerating the whole situation, it was as big an issue in my life as it gets.

Maybe, I’d laugh at myself down the memory lane for reacting the way I did; but it wasn’t to grab attention or to seek sympathy. I was genuinely hurt, so much as I put myself in a corner mentally – and whatever I did physically had no impact whatsoever on my happiness.

That’s how I coped up with the pain. A broken relationship somehow gives you the same amount of pain when you lose someone to death.

You let go a person you connected so deeply with, and all of a sudden, you have to be total strangers. I sat down days trying to figure out how. But, fortunately, I do have good friends.

Like today, they continuously made a point to take good care of me. “An expedition will do you a world of good,” my friend usually says. In fact, that’s why I’m driving all the way to the Catskill Mountains right now. It’s a small town right beside New York. I’ve been there quite a few times; the panoramic scenery mesmerizes your soul. The sound of raging rivers makes you affix yourself to the surrounding.

The tunnel I just past by is the last entrance to the town. It reminds me of the movie I watched multiple times- “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” It’s based on a mindset of an awkward teenager who fell in love with his best friend. The movie has a tunnel scene where the characters unfurl their arms around and endure the blazing wave of air. My friend Daniel and I were hugely fanatic about it. We even tried it several times. The blowing wind did make us feel infinite. It made the two of us connect more than we ever did – somehow he became my simpatico.
Finally! I’m here.

My friend’s farmhouse has a uniqueness to it. It’s built on acres of land, as you’d expect a farmhouse to be. But the old bricks and the sculptures he ordered from Thailand makes it look like an old Royal Palace. He has made a massive effort to enlighten me today. He has lots of jingle lights wrapped all around the exterior of the house along with a huge placard that congratulates me. I’m going to feel like a celebrity today – I wonder whether I’d be able to cope with the temporary fandom.

Meanwhile, the party has already started. It has a similar feel to the one I went years ago. That was the day when I connected deeply with someone. The music is upbeat – and the guests seem to be having a perfect time. My friend has invited quite a handful number of people. He has a hugely pleasant personality. The guy has made quite a circle. I’ve always wondered why a gregarious guy like him fancied a lone folk like me. But as fate has it, we know each other since childhood.

Time: 9 PM

Parties are strange for several reasons. You’ll often find two types of people in every party. Some kindle it as a Tinder event somewhat; while some innocent souls attend it to adhere their old friendships or to forge a new one.
I belong to the third and sparse species – the ones who come to parties to remind why solitude is so important. Somehow, the only place I find a complementary soul is always in one of these parties.

I had been navigating around to find someone to start a conversation with – and that’s when I saw her. A beautiful blonde girl, with a somewhat spooky nose and an exuberant smile. I felt it was about time I took advantage of my growing conversational skills. I approached her with a drink and gave one of those awkward smiles I so proudly possess.

“Do you know I planned a red wedding theme for this party? But my friend said no one would come” I told her, hoping she didn’t belong to one of those “I don’t watch Game Of Thrones, I want a cookie” brigade.

“I would have come prepared. You should know I have wanted vengeance ever since the episode”, the most beautiful girl on the planet at the moment told to my amusement.

“I am Barun by the way,” I didn’t waste any time for an introduction.

“Haha, I know who you are. Barun. You’re the centerpiece today. “, she said cunningly – perhaps sarcastically.
Somehow, that made me grow even more fond of her, and it has been hours since we have shared the little nitpicks of our life in a similar beach chair my friend has at his pool.

For all I know, maybe, I finally found someone to gaze upon the sky again.

 

I loathed me

I saw her in midst of a crowd

She smiled at me,
I smiled back,
For there was something unusual about the smile.

No one smiled at me before,
No one even cared,
I was my mother’s worse-cooked food,
My father – he was a disappointed dude.

But today, she smiled again,
I smiled back,
For I didn’t know what else a man can really do,
I see a smile, and I return back the favor,
She smiled again, but this time her effort was more apparent,
She wanted something; but finding it out was above my intellect,
To her dismay, I smiled back again,
Don’t Smile! Do something I cry to myself,
While she was visibly distorted, probably wondered what this ugly man was up to,
I stood still, waiting for her in the corner of the assembly,
“Don’t you get a hint?” She said to me with a scorn,
“I do. When I see a smile, I smile back” I say with one part of my heart torn.

See, it wasn’t arrogance from my side, it was just what I was taught,
Right from the childhood, the only smile I got was from my mother and a smile back really worked

Today though, it was different, a girl wanted more from me, and suddenly minutes turned to hours,
We talked, we giggled, it looked like someone finally enjoyed my company,
I was newbie, I fumbled, I awkwardly shook hands, talked to her perhaps a little drunkenly,

I didn’t know anything, for what I needed to do, but I knew I had to keep her by my side with all my powers,

A guy who got nothing in life had to keep a fairy without all odds at the top of his tower,

But alas, there was something fundamentally wrong about it,
For a fairy girl like her never suited a guy like me,

Karma it says never lets it happen,
Neither it was really a South Indian Movie,

Destiny is always right,
I feared it but I had to be an exception,
So I grabbed her and held her tight,
I worked my ass off and calculated every possible permutation,

But you know, I wasn’t a macho , and nor I had any charm,
The strength just got me nowhere and it wasn’t Even July when it was all gone without even an alarm.

She wanted me, she probably needed me,
But little did she know I loathed myself,
We were black and white, sugar and salt,
Me a Shrek and she perhaps Princess Leia,
Her face reflected of a barbie doll, while I looked like a patient suffering from Gonorrhea

She had a million choices,
One so smart who could solve the String Theory,
The other was dull but he could lift a tree,
While I couldn’t even keep hold of my key.

Talking about keys, I was lost in her, never finding a door to the way out,
She was all I wanted, and irony is she was all I couldn’t get
To my surprise, a few other fairies did give me a second chance to life,
But ignorant I was, i never saw the bloom in the dark shadows;
They gave me time, they gave me love, isn’t that all a person needs?
But no. That was all too overwhelming, Too much attention for my liking I felt.

With time, no one really waited, nor I really ever gave them a chance,
While I waited for her in the same crowd with a hope for another dance,
But at the end, such is the misery of life,
The others weren’t here, nor was she
All I had was I, but I loathed me

The Taboo

Don’t read further if you don’t believe in mental illness.

Today, I wanted to share you a little about a topic that is rarely spoken about in our country. Or a topic frowned upon as Ross would say.

Ross

The truth is – it is a topic of shame, often coined crazy or devdas if you fancy a famous Bollywood term. However, the fact that thousands of teenagers commit suicides in this very country points out to the very obvious irony.

To make it only fair, I will begin by sharing my side of the story.

An upbeat cricket fanatic, I had nothing bad going on in my life. I was born under adequate circumstances, admitted in a Boarding School and provided with all the resources I possibly needed. However, there was one particular glitch in my system. I was born very sensitive and overthinking stuff seemed to be engrailed in my genes.

I was a late-born child in my family. All my siblings are a decade older than me, something I’m thankful  of right now for the several rewards that come with it. However, when I was young, it was nothing like it. My *friends* constantly tormented a young me with several imaginative instances about how my parents were old and they would die soon.

I don’t really blame them – and I never took it seriously but somehow, deep into my subconscious, I was always aware of that. Gradually, I became afraid for the unimaginative death, and eventually, I feared I would die soon myself. To be honest, I can not really figure out how that works but I was just born into this lovely world in an endearing family yet I was already afraid of the inevitable. It crushed me.

Like every depression episode, there comes a breaking point. My breaking point was that one night when I saw the bad pictures made up in my mind convert into a video reel in my dreams. I can’t really remember if I had ever woken up at the middle of the night before, but I still remember how panicked I was that night and how I cried non-stop for hours before I fell asleep.

Map by Nepali Times

It didn’t stop. I usually found corners in my home so no one could see how emotionally shattered I was. But, secrets aren’t really meant to be kept away from your parents when you are a seven year old. An hour before we were supposed to be headed for a marriage party in a sunny afternoon in Butwal, my mother found her seven year old son crying helplessly whilst only wearing a towel wrapped around him. It’s not an important detail – but I just wanted to brag about me taking a shower because I rarely did it as a child!

You would only imagine how a mother would feel at that very moment. She was helpless. Nothing she said really comforted me. I was deep into the region I had no idea how to take a leap from. The only cure I really had was – stick to the sport I loved.  I often felt distracted by it but the episode always returned when I was alone in a playground with my own mind. It played me like a buffoon.

Luckily for me, my father was not completely new to this situation. He knew about it from his friends. In mid 2000s, mental illness was far even sparsely discussed than today. He brought me to the city of a million Nepalese dreams (Kathmandu, if you’re wondering) for my treatment. Three months later, after the therapy sessions and a lot of care from my family, I returned to Butwal feeling normal again. My mother still deals with me differently when it comes to my feelings because it never really goes away.

You just play your mind better in reciprocation. You feed it with the things you want it to be fed with. Even today, I have come to terms with the fact that everyone feels sad once in a while. But the consistent  sadness and downbeat mood crumbles your soul. That eventually leads to clinical depression.

There is nothing worse than when your mind is your own enemy.

It is not rocket science but it is also easier said than done. Teenagers in Nepal do face mental illness like me. It’s no different than from being ill physically. But even then, it’s a taboo in our society. You are afraid of exposing your mental fragility with anyone else because almost everyone takes a stance of judgement towards you. I don’t really blame anyone because that’s the surrounding we were born around.

The biggest disappointment though is when the very Nepalese experts in ‘psychology  treatment’ can’t really deal with the situation to their merits. It amazes me how often people derail the mental situation of teenagers to a facade as if it is age-locked.

It is not. Depression doesn’t see age – in fact, a teenager is more liable to it than anyone else. In the country where our supremacy is often judged on the account of our academic performances, we are on constant pressure to perform. Our education system screeches our mind to do something not everyone of us are trained for.

Meanwhile, there is hope. You might not see the light at the end of the tunnel but there often is. Depression isn’t something you can just scratch away through medication and wait for a mandate to cure it. It takes time and you have to be patient with it. But the happy news is – you have everything in you to win over it. Just don’t give up. Hang in there and do seek help. The most important thing to do right now – is talk to your dearest ones and share.

Let it not be your little secret before it’s too late.

Please contact these numbers if you want help:

UTH Suicide Hotline: 9840021600

Transcultural Psychosocial Organization-Nepal Crisis Hotline: 1660 0102005

Mental Health Helpline Nepal: 1660 0133666

or please email me at contact@wordsvine.com . I may not be a professional but I do know that taking the burden off your heart does you a world of good.

To my mother

I woke up at nine a.m. this morning. You could say it was too late, but it is a daily norm for me. I sleep at 4 by the way, so make necessary calculations.

First thing I do almost every day is wake up and meditate. Half an hour of soothing devotion to your own-self keeps me up and running everyday. It makes me open to the often overlooked corners of life.

Who am I kidding? I pick my mobile phone even before I open my eyes. It’s spontaneous. I scroll through several applications to see if there were any interesting events when I was asleep.  None today. No messages either.  I’m not obsessed about it, but sometimes my friends pick absurd times to leave messages – and they get mad far too much when I don’t respond to it as soon as I can.

After the regular surfing through the internet, I usually go to the washroom, do the daily nitpicks and hurry to the college.

It is normal for me, except today – I discovered an unusual sighting.

I saw a bundle of twigs lying around just besides my window. At first, I wondered what it was. But that was before I saw an egg right in the middle. It fascinated me and several thoughts popped up to my head right at that very moment.

What if I was too sleepy  and I opened the window without even bothering to look? A beautiful life wasted for nothing!

What inspired me more was how the mother pigeon kept ushering little pieces of wood and looked after it with extreme care. I was spectating at one of the most mesmerizing views to life right at my own window.

Don’t get me wrong. I knew how a nest was built. But somehow, it was just able to touch a part of heart which rendered a lot of emotions inside me.

Meanwhile, after a pleasant surprise and a few of my morning rituals, I was already getting to late for college. I had a presentation this morning – an event where you strive to present yourself even when you know you got nothing. All you have to do is create a fascist version of yourself and hope that the teacher doesn’t single it out. Or try to become outspoken for a day at least.

I wasn’t able to do either of them, yet it went fine. Perhaps it was my lucky day.

Following the presentation, I knew I had to eat.

My stomach was making noise even when the teacher was asking a lot of questions on the project.  I hadn’t eaten much this morning. I needed to dash through everything as soon as I could to get to the college on time; and consequently, I only ate a few spoons of rice which could have only fed a baby.

In my conquest to beat off hunger, I joined two of my friends in an almost daily routine at RedMud. I ate my favorite Chicken Bacon wrap and Chicken Chilly, ofcourse.

Coffee

After a few minutes of daily chitchat and meaningless guff, it had already become dark, so I rode my motorcycle all the way back to Budhanilkantha.

On my return, I did a little freshening up. However, my home didn’t quite feel like home today but I dialed it down to Barun 101 theories and moved on.

I then checked my mobile for a quick Instagram surf and rather unsurprisingly, it was switched off! I hadn’t checked it since this morning, and I am rather too mischievous that way. I don’t remember the last time my mobile was switched on for more than a day.

A few minutes and one Modern Family episode later, my mobile finally switched on. I found that my mother had called me numerous times. I was dead!

She had gone out of the valley for my cousin’s marriage.

I called her, with fear – yet, a few scoldings and talking to later, I felt so good once again. Her voice suddenly made me feel at home again. Perhaps, that was what I had been missing all along.

In fact, it made me remember why the little egg in the nest soothed me so much this morning.

My mother helps me do a lot of things. I won’t deny it, in fact – sometimes I worry I am too dependent on her. These days though, I’ve tried nulling it down as much as possible. I quite like the idea of being independent. But my mother being my mother, she always finds ways to get into anything she can get her hands on. But her constant knack to help wasn’t what I was missing. It was just her presence.

It dispersed like a fragrance. It could make me comfortable in any circumstance; even when she was miles away.

The idea of knowing that there is that one special lady always there right besides you when you need her – makes you realize that you’re not alone.

I sometimes wish there was a container (of some sort) to store the feelings you have –  when someone that special is around. Or maybe a drug that comforts you as much as it does.

It dispersed like a fragrance. It could make me comfortable in any circumstance; even when she was miles away.

In fact, sometimes in life, we tend to miss out on a lot of things. Maybe, the little bird that will come out of that very egg will never realize that the nest it rest on – came through sheer hard work and sweat of it’s mother. It will just think a silent guardian far away made a house for it to stay.

It’s an undisputed love, one that could be too easy to shadow because it never fades away.

Today, what I learned was that maybe, at times I take my mother for granted.

In reality, we all tend to do that. We don’t realize how that presence was a part of the reason why we kept uplifting in our challenges every time.

Still in the end, the very fact that she exists, is enough.

Possibly one day,  when you are flying so high up in the sky with sky your limits, you could overlook the very fundamental aspects of your life.

Yet no matter how far you can soar up, you’ll still feel relaxed when you know she’s there for you.

That one special lady who you could fly to a corner in Antartica and still make it feel home.

Just with her presence. Her presence.

A walk of imagination

A walk of imagination is a monologue I wrote rendering the conflict in the state of my mind at one point in the past.


Yesterday, I went for a walk. Walking has never been my thing. I often prefer riding on a motorcycle to go to my sister’s, even though it’s just a five minute walk – but yesterday, something inculcated me to walk voluntarily up onto the hills nearby.

A walk

I’m not really a morning person. I hate when people wake me up early in the morning – esp. when I stayed up late (which is almost always!). But yesterday, despite only sleeping two hours, I felt fresh and ready to make my legs work.

As I expected, my jammed legs took a little getting used to. I was locked in my room for days, clicking the buttons of the only thing I knew how to use.

Initially, I took a few small steps. I wandered around – looking at how people walked with their dogs and had a little glee in all their faces. That made me a little sad because I didn’t think it was necessary to bring my dog along too. But I didn’t want to trace back to all the steps I took, my heart was set on moving on and forward. It was as if I had always known what destiny held for me.

I saw two different sides to life in my journey. Some people walked all the way to the hill for recreation and fitness – while the quest for survival drove some. But then I was there – neither really concerned about my fitness nor I needed to carry a big sack full of stones to survive. My father worked hard to ensure I didn’t have to.

I live in quite a religious place – where Hindu pilgrims from all around the world come to worship a popular god. For some reason, I never really was religious – but I never disregarded it either. But when your mother prays so hard everyday to ensure your whole family is safe and sound – somewhere something inside compelled me to think whether the temple was actually my final destination.

I roamed around, took a peek at several entities of the temple and even put a 5 rupees note down at the feet of Ganesh. But I got no answer – and I for one, wasn’t used to getting no answer.

After dawdling around for quite a long time, I realized that temple wasn’t really the place I sought after and I had already spent the early hours of my new pursuit wasting a five rupee note on nothing.

What was next for me? The small steps now converted to large quicker ones. I began to run – run as fast as I can – run like Forrest Gump with the world screaming “Run Barun, Run” until I reached a cliff. I scanned the place thoroughly in search for something but I saw darkness. It was a void, where no light ever entered. It made me really anxious. All my mind could really think is of the things I could have done wrong. I was used to overthinking but yesterday, I had only three choices- jump from the cliff, overthink or return back.

For some reason, I didn’t know how to return back. Or maybe, I didn’t really want to. I have always hated places with noise, and this place was a paradise for me. It was as peaceful as it gets – except for the noise my mind insisted on making.

Meanwhile, just sitting there- doing nothing could kill me. It would not really physically wound me, but yesterday, I didn’t think I was ready enough to give myself the full control of myself. Yesterday, I wasn’t ready.

All this uncertainty made me rue at the fact that I decided to take a walk yesterday. My life became a movie reel, it came all at me once. I flashed back upon memories where I spent the whole childhood playing badminton with the kids in street. I always had a competitive edge – lack of competition bored me. I spent my school days trying to compete with the best of my friends, so much that I hated when they succeeded. I wanted to come first, and for some weird reason (and that is my laziness), I came out on top 3 times out of 10. Maybe yesterday, what I really needed was someone along my side to give me a purpose. Maybe yesterday, all I really needed to find the destination was the competitive edge I’ve always stuck upon to find success. But then again these days, I didn’t really need other people for competition. I fought with myself day and night, and I almost always surrendered.
Throughout all this, I realized I was starting to overthink again. So I stopped. I listened. There was nothing. It was peaceful, my mind stopped making noises and my eyes stopped seeing anything.

And I jumped.

I jumped from the cliff yesterday and today, I write.

I write about how the big risk and the sacrifice I took yesterday helped me find myself.

I was scared because it was a new territory for me. I jumped without knowing whether the cliff would take me to a beautiful place or would be the end of me. But I was compelled to make a choice and though, it could have come amidst of all panics, I didn’t want to scuffle back to a road with no appeal to me.

So yesterday was just a start. Today, I go for a walk, again and tomorrow will be no different.

You can’t always win

Dear Friend,

It has been a while since I last wrote you a letter. You might have worried about me, or atleast I hope so – but I’m fine. Actually, I wonder if you remember me at all. But I promise I always thought about you. I used to look at the happy faces in midst of the crowd thinking about you. I always pictured you as a happy soul. In fact, at times, I wish you were by my side sharing your precious gaiety with me.

Unluckily, you were not here for the last few months – and I had to endure a path completely new to me. Sorry that I distanced myself so much that I never found enough time to share my experiences with you. You have always listened to me no matter what- and I can’t thank you enough for just hearing me out without showing any sort of acumen.

It’s sometimes cliche- but life has been up and down for me in the recent times. However, it wasn’t always like this. All my childhood, I only knew happiness. I grew up never realizing the true meaning of dissatisfaction and disgruntlement. I was the youngest among three other siblings; three a decade older than me and I often was the center of attention.

Of course, there were times when my brother enraged me. I still remember the time when he set up a mock examination to challenge me ahead of my finals. He used to set up tricky questions just to unsettle me into studying more. I often fell into the trap but I never conceded a defeat. I would show my dissatisfaction with the marks and sometimes, even cry but he never cared for it. He would say: “You can’t always win.”

I hated it. It never made sense to me. Maybe, it was because my favorite wrestler then had a 100% Wrestlemania Record. I knew it was possible.

Slowly as I was growing up, the discontentment towards my brother switched with my friends. I never showed it, but I hated losing with them in FIFA. Sometimes, I would even go to the length of playing multiple practice matches before I faced them. I couldn’t always beat them though – and when I did lose; they would always amusingly look at my face and say: “You can’t always win, man.

The statement just kept on knocking the temple in my head. It infuriated me. From a simple mock test, FIFA to each and every step of my life growing up, it kept coming up. I started to make sense of it. I thought: “My brother was right. I can’t always win.”

Meanwhile, I thought I cracked life. I told myself: “Try winning all the battles you can. If you can’t, just remember you can’t always win.” Though, I knew I couldn’t be Floyd Mayweather Jr. of real life – I thought I was atleast Manny Pacquiao. But, in the winter of 2016, everything changed.

I faced my first failures everywhere. Academically, I had never been worse while emotionally I was going through a torrid time. Soon, “you can’t always win” turned to “you can’t win”. I was devastated and I knew no answers. The final nail in the coffin was when I thought I had lost the love of my life. I couldn’t bear it- and I reached a red light which just didn’t turn green. So, I just stood still waiting for the green light in the hope someone would do it for me. Watching Friends made me feel okay sometimes, but I’d often retort back to the numbness as soon as I was done with it.

As a child, I always thought I have people around me who will guide me to the destination I vowed to reach. It was really simple in my mind. All I needed was a simple blueprint from my family and I thought I was set to go. Maybe, that could be the reason why I depended on people so much. No one could help me but it didn’t stop me from craving for someone. Someone who could be the messiah to all my problems. I was alone in the zone of war against my enemy and all I did was wait for someone’s command instead of mapping out a plan to face it myself.

The feeling of helplessness and perhaps, a little pity on me made me feel weak but what was worse was how I made myself a victim out of it. “Why always me?” – I often thought of myself. It was almost as if I forgot the beautiful journey I had been through to reach this state. Perhaps, my beautiful childhood and dependency growing up just made me unprepared for an eventual battle. Or maybe, I just lost my way in between. One thing was certain- I was battling against something out of my forte. I lost once, I lost again- and each time, it just made me weaker. Most importantly, it wasn’t just about me. Every day I would look at my mother and see the worry on her face. She was helpless but she knew something was eating her little boy inside.

As far as I was concerned, it wasn’t about some love I had lost or some poor exams I had. They were just a trigger, but it was a sign that I often put materialistic pleasures over the true form of happiness. I never really knew happiness. The feeling of satisfaction to be in one’s own company never even touched me.

I came across a battle with my own mind and I had zero knowledge on how to face it. The hollowness would haunt me despite all the efforts I made. I would feel happy one moment and the very next moment, a facade of loneliness would crumble me. But I would always hang on, trying to make a sense out of it. I’d steadily try to push myself out of my comfort zone. I thought: “So what if the red light never turns green? I will just get out of the car and walk. I just need to try different things.”

With time, maybe I’ll find the final destination. I can’t guarantee- no one can. Yet, the most important lesson I learned was that my brother only illuminated one side of the story to me. You can’t always win but friend, I know it with confidence –  you can’t always lose as well.

Yours affectionately,

Barun.

One last goodbye

A battlefield brings a mixture of euphoria and terror within yourself. You know what to expect from a battle; you know what it will bring to you; but you’re fighting for a cause – for a better tomorrow for you and as long as you see a future that looks better than the current, you’re willing to sacrifice yourself. You’ll get wounded or in a worst case scenario you’ll end up dead. But then again, would getting crippled be any better than dying?

I felt the same when I woke up one day. I knew what was coming. The day when I had had enough. I was prepared to go on a war against my will. I kept my heart quiet and as diverted as I could. I would never approve of what I was planning to do just a few hours later that day.  I was going to give up on everything I had fought for years. In fact, I was letting a part of my identity wash away – an identity I worked so hard to forge upon me.

Every time I assembled my gun, I’d ask myself: “Is this worth it? Can I give myself more time before I head down to the battlefield? Am I ready enough?” But, all the questions were there only to baffle me. I knew what I wanted. I knew my future must be better than the present for me to exist; for me to survive. If I wasn’t planning to go on the war and battle, my cowardice would go on to kill me anyway.

I had no other choice. I saw her few months ago, smiling at me; making me illustrious about what the future presents to us. But suddenly everything changed. Love is much like politics; it doesn’t take much to change stances unless there is trust. Charm, physicality and attraction will always be important at first; but they will never be enough.

Today, it was a compulsion for me. Days of practice and uncertainties regarding the future would go down to one ultimate battle. I was willing to fight anything for a better tomorrow. I stood up, closed my eyes and assembled my gun properly for one final time. I put all the necessary ammo in my pouch along with a pistol and a combat knife. The euphoria kicked in; the nervousness settled.

I stepped into the battlefield.

I took a shot once, I took a shot again. The bullets came firing right back at me. It was as if I was shooting at an unbreakable mirror. I dodged somehow and I continued to battle my way through it. I wanted to win this battle, for me and for the people who cared about me. But, alas, a bullet hit right at my arm; I involuntarily threw away my rifle to cope up with the pain. I was losing; and I only had a pistol left. I knew I was going to lose, I knew I was going to hurt; I’d probably be dead. But now, my only mission was to spread the wound. I didn’t want to be isolated in the pain, I wanted someone else to feel the way I did. But alas, my pistol never worked. But alas, I was too distant to use my knife. My pistol shots seemed to come right back at me, I struggled; the pain seemed to hallucinate me. My muscles stopped working. My eyes were closed and all I could remember was the time we met last month. She was surreal, as beautiful as ever – riding her car in a heavy traffic as she waved me a goodbye. One last goodbye.

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